They're best with a smudge of Dijon. Just don't boil them too long--they'll turn into really-old-man-skin looking piles o' dough. This one survived after a brief boil and then a browning in the oven. A perfect toasty treat for a Fall afternoon.
2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
vegetable oil, for baking sheets
3 tablespoons baking soda (for water)
1 tablespoon pretzel salt
1. Mix yeast, salt, sugar, warm water in bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes
2.mix flour and cayenne, use pastry cutter or fingers, cut butter into flour
3. slowly pour yeast mixture over flour, stirring to combine. use hands, gather dough, turn onto a lightly floured surface, knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes. cover with plastic, let rise 30 minutes
4. cut dough into 12 pieces, roll each into an 18 inch rope. twist into pretzel form. transfer to oiled baking sheet, let rise 20 min.
5. preheat oven to 475. bring large pot of water to boil and add baking soda. boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny (about 1 minute or less per side). transfer to wire rack to drain. return to baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake until golden brown (about 15 minutes).